Establishing Human-Robot Trust through Music-Driven Robotic Emotion Prosody and Gesture

Establishing Human-Robot Trust through Music-Driven Robotic Emotion Prosody and Gesture
Establishing Human-Robot Trust through Music-Driven Robotic
                                                                Emotion Prosody and Gesture
                                                                                Richard Savery, Ryan Rose and Gil Weinberg1

                                            Abstract— As human-robot collaboration opportunities con-        [8], implying methods for gaining trust at the start of a
                                         tinue to expand, trust becomes ever more important for full         relationship, such as prosody and gesture are crucial.
                                         engagement and utilization of robots. Affective trust, built on
                                         emotional relationship and interpersonal bonds is particularly
                                         critical as it is more resilient to mistakes and increases the
                                         willingness to collaborate. In this paper we present a novel
arXiv:2001.05863v1 [cs.HC] 11 Jan 2020

                                         model built on music-driven emotional prosody and gestures
                                         that encourages the perception of a robotic identity, designed to
                                         avoid uncanny valley. Symbolic musical phrases were generated
                                         and tagged with emotional information by human musicians.
                                         These phrases controlled a synthesis engine playing back pre-
                                         rendered audio samples generated through interpolation of
                                         phonemes and electronic instruments. Gestures were also driven
                                         by the symbolic phrases, encoding the emotion from the musical
                                         phrase to low degree-of-freedom movements. Through a user
                                         study we showed that our system was able to accurately
                                         portray a range of emotions to the user. We also showed with
                                         a significant result that our non-linguistic audio generation
                                         achieved an 8% higher mean of average trust than using a
                                         state-of-the-art text-to-speech system.

                                                               I. INTRODUCTION
                                            As co-robots become prevalent at home, work, and in
                                         public environments, a need arises for the development of
                                         trust between humans and robots. A meta-study of human-
                                         robot trust [1] has shown that robot-related attributes are
                                         the main contributors to building trust in Human-Robot-
                                         Interaction, affecting trust more than environmental and
                                         human related factors. Related research on artificial agents                   Fig. 1.   The musical robot companion Shimi
                                         and personality traits [2], [3] indicates conveying emotions
                                         using subtle non-verbal communication channels such as                 We address two research questions, firstly, can we use
                                         prosody and gesture is an effective approach for building           non-verbal prosody through musical phrases combined with
                                         trust with artificial agents. These channels can help convey        gestures to accurately convey emotions? We present a novel
                                         intentions as well as expressions such as humor, sarcasm,           deep learning based musical voice generation system that
                                         irony, and state-of-mind, which help build social relationship      uses the created phrases to generate gesture through musical
                                         and trust.                                                          prosody. In this way music is central to all interactions
                                            In this work we developed new modules for Shimi, a               presented by Shimi. We evaluate the effectiveness of the
                                         personal robotic platform [4], to study whether emotion-            musical audio and generative gesture system for Shimi to
                                         driven non-verbal prosody and body gesture can help es-             convey emotion, specified by valence-arousal quadrants. Our
                                         tablish affective-based trust in HRI. Our approach is to            second research question is whether emotional conveyance
                                         use music, one of the most emotive human experiences, to            through prosody and gestures driven by music analysis can
                                         drive a novel system for emotional prosody [5] and body             increase the level of trust in human-robot-interaction. For
                                         gesture [6] generation. We propose that music-driven prosody        this we conduct a user study to evaluate prosodic audio
                                         and gesture generation can provide effective low degrees of         and gestures created by our new model in comparison to
                                         freedom (DoF) interaction that can convey robotic emotional         a baseline text-to-speech system.
                                         content, avoid the uncanny valley [7], and help build human-
                                         robot trust. Furthermore, trust is highly dictated by the first                           II. BACKGROUND
                                         impression for both human-human and human-robot relations           A. Trust in HRI
                                           1 Georgia   Tech Center for Music Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA      Trust is a key requirement for working with collaborative
                                                                                robots, as low levels of trust can lead to under-utilization
Establishing Human-Robot Trust through Music-Driven Robotic Emotion Prosody and Gesture
in work and home environments [9]. A key component of            facilitated human-robot interactions [36], [25], [37]. Gesture
the dynamic nature of trust is created in the first phase of     has been used to accompany speech in robots to help convey
a relationship [10], [11], while lack of early trust building    affective information [38], however, to our knowledge, there
can remove the opportunity for trust to develop later on         is no prior work that attempts to integrate physical gestures
[12]. Lack of trust in robotic systems can also lead to          and music-driven prosody to convey robotic emotional states.
expert operators bypassing the robot to complete tasks [13].
Trust is generally categorized into either cognitive trust or                     III. S HIMI AND E MOTION
affective trust [14]. Affective trust involves emotional bonds   A. Prosody
and personal relationships, while cognitive trust focuses on       The goal of this project was to create a new voice for
considerations around dependability and competence. Per-         Shimi, using musical audio phrases tagged with an emotion.
ceiving emotion is crucial for the development of affective      We aimed to develop a new voice that could generate
trust in human-to-human interaction [15], as it increases        phrases in real-time. This was achieved through a multi-layer
the willingness to collaborate and expand resources bought       system, combining symbolic phrase generation using MIDI
to the interactions [16]. Importantly, relationships based       controlling a synthesis playback system.
on affective trust are more resilient to mistakes by either
party [15], and perceiving an emotional identity has been
shown to be an important contributor for creating believable
and trustworthy interaction [2], [3]. In group interactions,
emotional contagion - where emotion is spread between a
group - has been shown to improve cooperation and trust in
team exercises [17].

B. Emotion, Music and Prosody
   Emotion conveyance is one of the key elements for cre-
ating believable agents [2], and prosody has been proven
to be an effective communication channel to convey such
emotions for humans [18] and robots [19]. On a related front,
music which shares many of the underlying building blocks
of prosody such as pitch, timing, loudness, intonation, and
                                                                              Fig. 2.   Angry Speech Pitch and Intensity
timbre [20], has also been shown to be a powerful medium to
convey emotions [21]. In both music and prosody, emotions
can be classified in a discrete categorical manner (happiness,
sadness, fear, etc.) [22], and through continuous dimensions
such as valence, arousal, and less commonly, dominance,
and stance [23], [24]. While some recent efforts to generate
and manipulate robotic emotions through prosody focused on
linguistic robotic communication [19], [25] no known efforts
have been made to use models from music analysis to inform
real-time robotic non linguistic prosody for collaboration, as
we propose here.

C. Emotion, Music and Gesture
   Human bodily movements are embedded with emotional
expression [26], [27], which can be processed by human
“affective channels” [28]. Researchers in the field of af-
fective computing, have been working on designing ma-                         Fig. 3.   Calm Speech Pitch and Intensity
chines that can process and communicate emotions through
such channels [29]. Non-conscious affective channels have           1) Dataset and Phrase Generation: To control Shimi’s
been demonstrated to communicate compassion, awareness,          vocalizations we generate MIDI phrases that drive the syn-
accuracy, and competency, making them vital components           thesis and audio generation described below and lead the
of social interaction with robots [30]. Studies have shown       gesture generation. MIDI is a standard music protocol, where
clear correlations between musical features and movement         notes are stored by pitch value with a note on velocity,
features, suggesting that a single model can be used to          followed by a note off to mark the end of the note. With
express emotion through both music and movement [31],            the absence of appropriate datasets we chose to create our
[32], [33]. Certain characteristics of robotic motion have       own set of MIDI files tagged with valence and arousal by
been shown to influence human emotional response [34],           quadrant. MIDI files were collected from eleven different
[35]. Additionally, emotional intelligence in robots leads to    improvisers around the United States, each of whom tagged
Establishing Human-Robot Trust through Music-Driven Robotic Emotion Prosody and Gesture
their recorded files with an emotion corresponding to a         features are used to create mappings between Shimi’s voice
quadrant of the valence/arousal model. Phrases were required    and movement: for example, pitch contour is used to gov-
to be between 100ms and 6 seconds and each improviser           ern Shimi’s torso forward and backward movement. Other
recorded between 50 to 200 samples for each quadrant. To        mappings include beat synchronization across multiple sub-
validate this data we created a separate process whereby        divisions of the beat in Shimi’s foot, and note onset-based
the pitch range, velocities and contour were compared to        movements in Shimi’s up-and-down neck movement.
the RAVDESS [39] data set, with files removed when the             After mapping musical features to low-level movements,
variation was over a manually set threshold. RAVDESS            Shimi’s emotional state is used to condition the actuation of
contains speech files tagged with emotion, Figure 2 and         the movements. Continuous values for valence and arousal
Figure 3 clearly demonstrate the variety of prosody details     are used to influence the range, speed, and amount of motion
apparent in the RAVDESS dataset (created using [40], [41])      Shimi exhibits. Some conditioning examples include limiting
and the variation between a calm and angry utterance of the     or expanding the range of motion according to the arousal
same phrase.                                                    value, and governing how smooth motor direction changes
   We chose to use a Recurrent Neural Network, Long Short       are through Shimi’s current valence level. In some cases, the
Term Memory (RNN-LSTM) as described in [42] to generate         gestures generated for one degree of freedom are dependent
musical phrases using this data. RNN-LSTM’s have been           on another degree of freedom. For example, when Shimi’s
used effectively to generate short melodies, as they are        torso leans forward, Shimi’s attached head will be affected
sequential and consider the input as the output is generated.   as well. As such, to control where Shimi is looking, any neck
Other network structures were considered however we found       gestures need to know the position of the torso. To accom-
RNN-LSTM’s very effective for this task when compared           modate these inter-dependencies, when the gesture system is
to alternate approaches developed by the authors [43], [44],    given input, each degree of freedom’s movements are gener-
[45], [46], more detail is provided in [47]. While using        ated sequentially and in full, before being actuated together
samples directly from the data was possible, using a neu-       in time with Shimi’s voice. Video examples of gesture and
ral network allowed infinite variation but also allowed for     audio are available at
generated phrases utilizing all the musical features created
by the improvisers, not just one improviser per sample.                               IV. M ETHODOLOGY
   2) Audio Creation and Synthesis: The generated MIDI
phrases contain symbolic information only without audio.           We designed an experiment to identify how well partic-
To create audio we developed a synthesis system to playback     ipants could recognize the emotions shown by our music-
the MIDI phrase. As we desired to create a system devoid of     driven prosodic and gestural emotion generator. This part of
semantic meaning a new vocabulary was constructed. This         the experiment aimed to answer our first research question,
was built upon phonemes from the Australian Aboriginal          can non-verbal prosody combined with gestures accurately
language Yuwaalaraay a dialect of the Gamilaraay language.      portray emotion. After watching a collection of stimuli,
Sounds were created by interpolating four different synthe-     participants completed a survey measuring the trust rating
sizer sounds with 28 phonemes. Interpolation was done using     from each participant. This part of the experiment was
a modified version of WaveNet. These samples are then time      designed to answer the second question, can emotion driven,
stretched and pitch shifted to match the incoming MIDI file.    non-semantic audio generate trust in a robot.
For a more detailed technical overview of audio processing         We hypothesized that through non-semantic prosodic vo-
read [47].                                                      calizations accompanied with low-DoF robotic gesture hu-
                                                                mans will be able to correctly classify Shimi’s portrayed
B. Gestures                                                     emotion as either happy, calm, sad, or angry, with an
   In human communication gestures are tightly coupled with     accuracy consistent with that of text-to-speech. Our second
speech [48]. Thus, Shimi’s body language is implemented         hypothesis was that we will see higher levels of trust from
in the same way, derived from its musical prosody and           the Shimi using non-speech.
leveraging the musical encoding of emotion to express that
emotion physically. Music and movement are correlated,          A. Stimuli
with research finding commonalities in features between both
modes [31]. Additionally, humans demonstrate patterns in                     Name                Audio   Stochastic   Experimental
movement that is induced from music [49]. Particular music-               Audio Only              X
                                                                   Stochastic Gesture, audio      X            X
induced movement features are also correlated to perceived        Stochastic Gesture, no audio                 X
emotion in music [50]. After a musical phrase is generated        Experimental Gesture, audio     X                        X
for Shimi’s voice to sing, the MIDI representation of that           Experimental Gesture,                     X           X
phrase is provided as input to a gesture generation system.                 no audio
Musical features such as tempo, range, note contour, key,                                     TABLE I
and rhythmic density are obtained from the MIDI through                                 E XPERIMENT S TIMULI
Python libraries pretty_midi [51] and music211 . These
Establishing Human-Robot Trust through Music-Driven Robotic Emotion Prosody and Gesture
Fig. 4.   Confusion Matrix

   The experiment was designed as a between-subjects study,         Subjects participated independently, with the group alter-
where one group would hear the audio with the Shimi voice,          nating for each participant, culminating with 12 in each
while the other would hear pre-rendered text-to-speech. Both        group. The session began with an introduction to the task
groups saw the same gesture and answered the same prompts.          of identifying the emotion displayed by Shimi. Participants
The text-to-speech examples were synchronized in length             responded through a web interface that controlled Shimi
and emotion to Shimi’s voice. The stimuli for the Speech            through the experiment and then allowed the user to select
Audio experiment used CereProc’s Meghan voice2 . CereProc           the emotion they thought Shimi was expressing. Stimuli were
is a state of the art text to speech engine. The text spoken by     randomly ordered for each participant. Table I shows the
Meghan was chosen from the EmoInt Dataset [52], which is            order of stimuli used, each category contained 8 stimuli, 2 for
a collection of manually tagged tweets.                             each valence arousal quadrant. After identifying all stimuli
                                                                    participants were directed to a Qualtrics survey to gather
B. Emotion
                                                                    their trust rating.
   The generated gestures were either deterministic gestures           To measure trust, we used the Trust Perception Scale-
created using the previously described system, or determinis-       HRI [12]. This scale uses 40 questions, each one using a
tic stochastic gestures. Stochastic gestures were implemented       rating scale between 0-100%, to give an average trust rating
by considering each DoF separately, restricting their ranges        per participant. The questions take between 5-10 minutes
to those implemented in the generative system, and speci-           to complete and include questions such as how often the
fying random individual movement durations up to half of            robot will be reliable or pleasant. After completing the trust
the length of the full gesture. The random number generator         rating, participants had several open text boxes to discuss
used in these gestures were seeded with an identifier unique        any observations in regards to emotion recognition, trust or
to the stimuli such that they were deterministic between            the general experiment. This was the first time trust was
participants. Gesture stimuli were presented both with and          mentioned in the experiment.
without audio.
                                                                                            V. R ESULTS
C. Procedure
                                                                    A. Gestures and Emotion
  Participants were gathered from the undergraduate student
population at the Georgia Institute of Technology (N=24).              After data was collected, two participant’s emotion predic-
                                                                    tion data was found to be corrupted due to a problem with
  2                                       the testing interface, reducing the number of participants in
Fig. 5.   Questions with P less than 0.1

this portion of the study to 22. First, we considered classifi-
cation statistics for the isolated predictions of Shimi’s voice
and text-to-speech (TTS) voice. While TTS outperformed
Shimi’s voice (F1 score T T S = 0.87 vs. Shimi = 0.63),
the confusion matrices show errant predictions in similar
scenarios (see figure 4). For example, both audio classes
struggle to disambiguate happy and calm emotions.
   Our hope was that adding gestures to accompany the
audio would help to disambiguate emotions. To test that our
gestures properly encoded emotion, we compared predictions
for Shimi’s voice accompanied by generated gestures with
predictions accompanied by stochastic gestures, the results
of which can also be seen in figure 4.
   While the confusion matrices show a clear prediction
improvement in using generated gestures over stochastic, the
results are not statistically significant. A two-sided T-test
provides a p-value of 0.089, which does not reject the null
hypothesis at α = 0.05. Disambiguities from the audio-only
cases were not mitigated, but the confused emotions changed
slightly, following other gesture and emotion studies [53].
   Some experimental error may have accrued through the
mixing of stimuli when presented to participants. Each
stimuli was expected to be independent but some verbal user                                Fig. 6.   Participants Trust Mean
feedback expressed otherwise, such as: “the gestures with no
audio seemed to be frequently followed by the same gesture
with audio, and it was much easier to determine emotion
with the presence of audio.” The presentation of stimuli may
have led participants to choose an emotion based on how
we ordered stimuli, rather than their perceived emotion of            showed a significant result (p=0.047), proving the hypothesis.
Shimi.                                                                Figure 6 shows the variation in average scores from all
                                                                      participants. The difference of mean between groups was 8%.
B. Trust                                                              Results from the text entries were positive for the prosodic
  As per the trust scale, a mean percentage for trust was             voice, and generally neutral or often blank for speech. A
calculated on combined answers to 40 questions from each              common comment from the participants for the Shimi voice
participant. A t-test was then run on each group mean. The            was “Seemed like a trustworthy friend that I would be fine
average score variation between speech and Shimi audio                confiding in.”
much higher ratings for its perception as being conscious.
                                                                  While further research is required to confirm the meaning,
                                                                  we believe that the question on consciousness of Shimi
                                                                  demonstrating a significant result shows that embodying
                                                                  a robot with a personal prosody (as opposed to human
                                                                  speech) creates a more believable agent. Figure 7 shows the
                                                                  categories with very similar distributions of scores. These
                                                                  include Lifelike, A Good Teammate, Have Errors, Require
                                                                  Maintenance and Openly Communicate. While further re-
                                                                  search is needed, this may imply that these features are not
                                                                  primarily associated with audio. Further work should be done
                                                                  to explore if the same impact can be found by adjusting audio
                                                                  features of a humanoid robot may also lead to interesting
                                                                     In other future work we plan to develop experiments with
                                                                  a broader custom musical data-set across multiple robots. We
               Fig. 7.   Not Significant Trust Results            intend to study emotional contagion and trust between larger
                                                                  groups of robots across distributed networks [54], aiming to
                                                                  understand collaboration and trust at a higher level between
          VI. D ISCUSSION AND F UTURE W ORK                       multiple robots.
                                                                     Overall, our trust results were significant and showed
   We were able to clearly demonstrate participant recogni-       that prosody and gesture can be used to generate higher
tion of the expected emotion from Shimi, confirming our first     levels of trust in human-robot interaction. Our belief that
hypothesis. Our model however did not perform completely          creating a believable agent that avoided uncanny valley was
as predicted, as audio without gesture lead to the clearest       shown to be correct and was validated through participant
display of emotion. With a small sample size and a p-value        comments, including the open text response: “Shimi seems
close to being significant, we were encouraged by qualitative     very personable and expressive, which helps with trust”.
feedback that provided insight into the shortcomings of the
gestures and gave us ideas for future improvements. For
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